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Are the monoamines involved in shaping conduct disorders?
Date:9/13/2009

easurements of MAO activities in brain tissue, either post-mortem or using various imaging techniques, are, however, tedious and not suitable for larger samples of individuals. Furthermore, unless combined with functional tasks, as in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), findings in relation to behaviour have usually not been particularly rewarding. This could possibly be explained by the fact that the majority of the enzyme is localised in glial cells, and that the population of enzyme molecules of immediate interest for monoamine inactivation is difficult to measure.

One of the MAO enzymes the MAO-B is localised in blood platelets and is therefore accessible for activity measurements in larger samples of individuals. MAO-B enzyme activity is highly inheritable, as shown in twin studies, and is stable in the individual during lifetime. Interestingly, decades ago low platelet MAO-B activity was shown to be associated with personality traits such as impulsiveness, monotony avoidance and aggressiveness, and, as a consequence, vulnerability for the type of alcoholism characterised by strong heritability and antisocial behaviour (type 2). While low platelet MAO-B activity thus involves a risk for the individual, it also might be associated, at the other end of the spectrum, with positive outcomes of impulsiveness and sensation seeking such as creativity and success.

Antisocial behaviour: biological factors

In some non-clinical series of individuals the association with aggressiveness or antisocial behaviour, however, becomes significant only if the interaction with the environment is considered, particularly in girls/females. Personality is, naturally, a result of the influence of a large number of genes, all of which result in the formation of their respective proteins, e.g. enzymes such as the MAOs.

Another protein of importance for the elimination of the neurotransmitter serotonin is the serotonin reuptake pump
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Contact: Sonja Mak
s.mak@update.europe.at
431-405-5734
European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Source:Eurekalert

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